Sept. 30, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee softball team opened its 2013 fall practice on Monday at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium.
Tennessee co-head coaches Ralph Weekly and Karen Weekly, entering their 13th season leading the program, met with the team in the clubhouse to discuss team goals and talk about the groundwork the team would lay for a successful 2014 season. Shortly after, the Lady Vols took to the field for their first team practice of the fall.
Monday's practice also marked the first organized Tennessee practice for UT newcomers Annie Aldrete, Hannah Devotie, Shaliyah Geathers, Megan Geer, Taylor Koenig and Hannah McDonald.
"Fall is a great time to get your freshmen and your new players acclimated to the Lady Vol way of doing things," Tennessee co-head coach Karen Weekly said. "We've got some outstanding leadership returning in Ellen Renfroe, Madison Shipman and Melissa Davin. I think we're going to have some excellent leadership from them to really show these kids what it means to be a Tennessee softball player. I'm really excited about that."
The team worked on various fielding drills and baserunning with some hitting mixed in.
Tennessee completed the 2013 season as the No. 2 team in the nation as the national runner-up with a 52-12 overall record. The Big Orange made its sixth Women's College World Series appearance in the last nine years and appeared in the Championship Series for the second time in program history.
FILLING BIG SHOESThe Lady Vols look to use the fall season to see who will step up to fill the void left by longtime starters Raven Chavanne, Lauren Gibson, Kat Dotson and Ivy Renfroe.
For the first time in four years, the top of the UT lineup will be without All-Americans Chavanne, Gibson and Dotson. Also, there will no longer be any confusion as to which Renfroe ace will be pitching as Ellen Renfroe is the only pitching Renfroe on the roster (Anna Renfroe plays infield and outfield).
All of the newcomers should be exciting to watch this fall, but keep an eye on rookie Taylor Koenig, who brings a big bat to the UT infield.
NEW AND NOT-SO-NEW FACESIn addition to the six new players on the field, there were a few new faces in the clubhouse and in the dugout as well. Patrick Lawson is the team's new director of softball operations and Shannen Robinson is the team's new athletic trainer.
One familiar face that Tennessee fans should remember is Melissa Brown, who is continuing her graduate studies at UT while working as one of the Lady Vols' team managers.
JUST DAYS AWAYTennessee will open its 2013 fall season at home on Sunday, Oct. 6, against Lee University at 6 p.m. Admission to all fall games at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium is free.